People said it would be the best six months of my life.
They weren't wrong - what an unbelievable experience.
Sadly, my time on the Irish National Stud Breeding Course has come to an end. The memories I have made through the people, horses and places visited will be cherished for the rest of my life.
The season has come to a close, the foaling unit completing an unbelievable 304 mares who foaled this year. It was outstanding work from the foaling managers, Lauren Eiseman and Tina Off.
The stallions have also stopped covering for another year. It was a busy time in the covering shed however everyone stepped up and got the job done.
With more spare time in the last couple of weeks, Anne has organised a few more trips for us where we have been to the training yards of Jessica Harrington and Joseph O'Brien plus visited studs such as Darley and Ballylinch. Jessica and Joseph explained how they tend to plan their horses' daily routines and their training methods. Alongside the training tracks, both trainers had training equipment such as walkers, pools and spas.
Ballylich and Darley were great studs to visit, with the opportunity to see their stallions, mares, foals and also some of their high quality bred yearlings. We got to see one of the best stallions in the world at the moment in Lope De Vega there at Ballylinch. At Darley, we got to see their full draft of stallions, which included horses such as Night of Thunder. He is a stallion who is starting to turn himself into a big player worldwide.
Looking well were shuttle horses Belardo and Ribchester who are preparing to return to Haunui Farm, located in New Zealand.
Personally, the standout horse of the Darley’s draft was Blue Point, he was just full of class and you can see why he was such a great sprinter.
We were lucky to get a tour and look at some of the best bred young horses at Darley from Joe Osborne and Jimmy Hyland, managing Director and Stud Director of Darley. They showed us one of their best-bred daughters by Lope De Vega out of Lava Flow, a three-part sister to champion two-year-old Pinatubo, along with the full brother to Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter (Teofilo).
June welcomed back Pubs to Ireland. It was an exciting time for everyone on the farm to get back out and start connecting with everyone from outside the farm. I haven't seen the Irish so excited to get a pint of Guinness back in their hands.
Weekends have involved me and three other lads who were lucky enough to go down to the local cricket club and play some cricket. It was a great way to get out and about to engage with more people and relax a bit from working around the stud after a busy season.
With cricket being a great passion of mine through school, I never thought I would see a field with a concrete block in Ireland. It was great fun. Thank you to INS head stallion man Paul Croke for getting us involved for the start of the season and to INS for being a sponsor of the cricket Leinster.
To conclude the course we had our official graduation held on the 25th of June. It was great to finally see everyone nicely dressed up for a change with lads in suits and ties while the girls looked stunning in their dresses. The ceremony began with INS CEO Cathal Beale giving the opening speech. Fellow students Sarah Kelly and George Prince spoke on behalf of the students, presenting a funny and well-performed portrayal of the course ensuring everyone got a laugh out of it.
There are so many people to thank on the course for making it as great as it has been. A huge thank you to the full-time staff of the INS that have been great mentors and have helped me out for the last six months. To everyone who made it possible for our group to visit the range of destinations around Ireland that we did, even with COVID still lurking around. All the lecturers have given up their time to help us improve our learning on all equine trades. And to the catering and cleaning staff for cooking and keeping our living area clean and tidy.
To Anne (Mum) for adopting twenty-four young adults and treating us so well for the last six months. The work and effort put into this course are unprecedented and it simply wouldn't be what it is without this amazing woman. The care and attention to detail she puts in is like no other and her strong connections and lovability throughout the industry enables us to visit so many properties and to have top quality lectures each day. For all the countless hours and care you put into us this year, I would like to say a huge thank you.
To Paddy Diamond for being such a great asset to us students. If we had any problems with any bloodstock or projects to do with pedigrees and matings, Paddy was more than happy to give us a hand and help out with anything if we needed it.
Plus, a huge thank you to Cathle Beale, your knowledge is second to none, it's been unbelievable what you taught me when looking at horses and conformation. Along with all your endless advice for potential plans going forward in life. You have given me the right advice to put me on the right track for the next couple of years.
Finally, thank the NZTBA for selecting me for the Keith & Faith Taylor scholarship. To Trelawney and the Taylor family for sponsoring it and making it possible after the year and a half that we have been through- Thank you for this opportunity.
I would like to wish my fellow students all the best in their future endeavours. I believe every single one of you will be successful in the path you take in the industry. I have made lifetime friends of the course and am excited to see where everyone ends up over the next couple of years. Although it may be goodbye, for now, we will see each other all very soon.
To anyone looking for a future leadership role in the industry, the Irish National Stud Course is the perfect place to enhance your skills and knowledge. As past students and leaders in the industry told me... It will be the best six months of your life. The connections I have made with people from other countries on the course are second to none. It's the best place to get a better knowledge of Northern Hampshire breeding and racing.
Please feel free to contact me about any queries you might have about the course.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blogs over the last six months. We will see you all very soon when I return to the land of the Long White Cloud.
See you soon team Trelawney!